hamburgers on the backyard patio. As you flip them over, you notice that the sky
getting dark. Pretty soon you see a flash of lightning. Then you hear a clap of
thunder. What should you do? What precautions should you take? Thunder and
lightning storms are a fairly common occurrence. But itís important to realize
just how dangerous lightning can be and the damage it can do.
From 2002 to 2005,
the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association says that U.S. fire
departments responded to an estimated 31,400 fires started by lightning per
year. The fires caused an estimated average of 12 deaths, 57 injuries and $213
million in property damage per year. The National Weather Service reported that
lightning strikes caused 47 deaths in 2006. Most of the victims were outside
when lightning struck.
To keep everyone
safe, NFPA and Burlington Community Fire Protection District recommend
that you follow these safety guidelines:
appliances and other electrical items, such as computers, and turn off air
conditioners. If you are unable to unplug them, turn them off.
the 30-30 rule: When you see lightning, count 30 seconds until you hear
thunder. If that time is 30 seconds or less, the thunderstorm is within six
miles and is dangerous Seek shelter immediately. The threat of lightning
continues longer than most people think. Wait at least 30 minutes after the
last sound of thunder before leaving your shelter.
you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. Seek
outdoor activities at the first clap of thunder and get inside a house,
large building, or a hard-topped vehicle.
inside, stay off corded phones, computers, and other electronic equipment
that put you in direct contact with electricity or plumbing. Avoid washing
your hands, showering, bathing, doing laundry, or washing dishes.
you are in open water, go to land and seek shelter immediately.
you feel your hair stand on end, indicating that lightning is about to
strike, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands
over your head between your knees. Make yourself the smallest target
possible to minimize your contact with the ground. Do not lie flat on the
ground. This is a last resort when a building or hard-topped vehicle is not
a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and get medical care immediately.
Lightning strike victims carry no electrical charge; attend to them
immediately. Check the personís breathing, heartbeat and pulse.
precautions during a lightning storm can save lives and decrease the chances of
injury and damage.